Nawaz Sharif influenced Hudaibiya case appeal, NAB informs Supreme Court

NAB submits new application in Supreme Court regarding its appeal in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case

Qamber Zaidi

ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) submitted on Wednesday a new request in Supreme Court regarding the reopening of the Hudaibiya Paper Mills Ltd case. 

In the request, submitted by NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Imranul Haq, it is stated that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif tried to influence the appeal into the Hudaibiya case. 

The NAB has also pleaded before the Supreme Court to ignore its delay in filing the appeal and permit the bureau to reopen the case.

The case cannot be dismissed on the basis of the Lahore High Court's decision [to quash the reference] or due to someone’s non-seriousness, the NAB's request states. 

It states further that to dismiss NAB's plea to reinvestigate the case would be akin to serious injustice.

On Tuesday, a three-member Supreme Court bench began hearing NAB's appeal to reopen the Rs1.2 billion Hudaibiya case. 

NAB has appealed an earlier decision of the Lahore High Court (LHC) directing it to quash the investigation into the case, which accuses former finance minister Senator Ishaq Dar and prominent members of the Sharif family of money laundering.

Justice Mushir Alam is heading the three-member bench hearing the case, which includes Justice Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Mazhar Alam Miankhel.

The bench ordered NAB to submit the complete record of the case at the next hearing, including the relevant documents of the Panama Papers case Joint Investigation Team report. 

The hearing was then adjourned until December 11 as NAB asked for more time to prepare for the case.

NAB's appeal

On September 20 this year, NAB filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the LHC's 2014 decision, naming former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his brothers Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif and late Abbas Sharif, their mother Shamim Akhter, Shehbaz's son and MNA Hamza Shehbaz, Nawaz's daughter Maryam, and others as respondents.

The NAB has pleaded the Supreme Court to dismiss the LHC decision to quash the case and order a reinvestigation into the scam as per the new evidence which surfaced in the Panama case Joint Investigation Team report.

Hudaibiya Paper Mills case

The Hudaibiya Paper Mills was allegedly used as a cover by the Sharif family to launder money outside the country in the 1990s.

It was in relation to this case that the Sharif family's trusted aide, Ishaq Dar, recorded a confessional statement on April 25, 2000 in front of a magistrate in Lahore accepting his role in laundering money.

On the basis of that confession, a reference was filed by the NAB in 2000 before an accountability court against the Hudabiya Paper Mills, three Sharif brothers, Dar and others.

Dar was not charged as he had become an approver in the case for the prosecution.

That reference was struck down by a referee judge of the Lahore High Court on March 11, 2014 in response to a writ petition filed in 2011 stating that Dar's confession was coerced.

Dar had claimed that he had made the 'confession' in duress and disowned the statement.